I meant to write a post, I did

And then the new cat box got delivered. This is a big production because for years now we’ve used Litter Robot. It started with Pixie who was the best cat ever, except if the box wasn’t cleaned ten times a day he’d find an interesting place to go. We tried litter-maid but it didn’t last. Then we got litter robot. These last, except for the one before last which was a lemon and conked out at 5 years. Not that it completely broke, it just would go through weeks when it didn’t work.

I finally broke down and got a new one, which permitted me to eliminate that one AND the one that worked perfectly but was TINY which cats for some reason don’t like.

So I spent the morning cleaning the laundry room and getting things out of the way to put the new box in.

Now I have two boxes (one works fine but small, and one works unreliably but a tinkerer could probably fix it (I just don’t have the time, and if I ask basement son he’ll make it fly or something equally stupid. [What would martians do a litter robot]) I’m now divided between going outside and scrubbing them with bleach, so I can donate them, and doing that tomorrow. Meh. It’s cold out.

Anyway, that’s the dog that ate my homework. But hey, the box room smells nice. (Yes, of course I THOROUGHLY cleaned the box I’m keeping.)

Sigh. I have no sense of limits.

93 thoughts on “I meant to write a post, I did

  1. Limitless potentiallity is wonderful!

    As long as you’re not trying to get much accomplished.
    (Don’t mind me, overcomplicating things is my raison d’etre.

  2. Belated ProTip: most commercially sold litter boxes are catboxes for ants.

    But plastic storage boxes can be purchased in far larger sizes. Then cut a hole in the side, deburr it, and you have a catbox large enough to break the normal rules of multi-cat scaling.

    1. When my cats were old and having kidney troubles, and therefore getting finicky about their litter boxes, I had success with the storage bins as well.

      They were used to an open box, so no drilling needed, and the larger footprint made it harder for them to miss.

      I also found that they were more likely to use it if I dumped the old litter, bleached the box, and put all new litter in every month.

      As a bonus, the only way anyone could tell I had cats was that there was fur on the couch.

      1. We had one, Spike (of treasured memory)who had kidney problems so we were giving him subcutaneous fluids, which meant
        he generate ALOT of urine. He also must been an Imperial Storm Trooper at some point because he could not hit the broad side of a barn (though managed to hit the heaters constantly). We ended up using a couple sweater boxes full of litter that (mostly) contained his output.

  3. Nah, nothing to apologize for!
    After all, you were only keeping our secret felinoid overlords happy, which is FAR more important, it keeps them from wrapping us all up in giant balls of yarn to smack around.

  4. Well, I have neglected our catbox once again – this duty falls to me now, since the Daughter Unit is hugely pregnant and can’t risk anything that might harm the baby, although her OB says that housebound cats fed entirely on commercial food don’t pass on that toxic disease …
    but I finished formatting a book for a client, and cut out the replica Victorian christening dress intended to replace the family heirloom dress which was lost when my parents’ house burned down …I was advised by other seamsters on a FB forum specializing in sewing replica historic garments that eBay was a good source for quality vintage lace. Found some very nice wide lace from a vendor in Canada for quite a reasonable price. So my day wasn’t entirely wasted!

    1. Depending on the type of vintage-style lace you were looking for, there are plenty of crazy people who still make it by hand.

        1. I have been tinkering with Irish crochet, but look, I’m really trying to write more and confine crafts to weekends. (which also gives me a break, when I can’t go anywhere.)

          1. The Year of Madness that was 2020 somehow made it so I could not (not physically couldn’t, but mentally) knit. I think because previously I knit as a soothing activity, but there was just too much insanity going on in 2020. Now that 21 seems to be going “hold my beer” I decided the stress-brain was gonna have to get over it. But I’m still finding it very hard to knit, sigh.

            (On the plus side, I actually managed to draw something for the first time in….years. And it wasn’t bad. So there’s that.)

            1. I knit and crochet. But can’t wear the results. We have enough afghans. Need to recreate the crochet Christmas Bell pattern my grandmother had (It is put away somewhere “safe”; dang if I know where). I also macrame, cross stitch, embroider, and quilt. Haven’t done any of it since I went back to college for the career change, a couple of decades ago. OTOH if I’d had waited a year, family would have taken up a collection to pay for me to go back to school. Oh they appreciated the results, but they can only use so much made things too.

          2. If you’re ever looking for a new sickness- erm, I mean ‘hobby’, I’ve got plenty I can loan you. I know you do wood restoration, have you considered wood turning? It’s lots of fun. You get to destroy something and make a huge mess and when you’re done you have a lovely vase or bowl or similar.

      1. I know – there are some bobbin-lace makers who regularly did demonstrations at the Museum of Texas Handmade Furniture in New Braufels. I honestly couldn’t afford to pay for yards and yards of handmade bobbin lace, or wait for months while they produced by inches. The original lace on the family christening dress was embroidered eyelet – I think probably machine-made, but of very high quality on very, very fine cotton batiste. The stuff available at outlets like JoAnnes’ just does not pass muster, quality-wise. (Insert disdainful sniff here.)

  5. Hygiene and safety of domestic animals is PRETTY DARNED HIGH on the priority list.

    Story about a beatified minor seminarian (that’s high school) who was martyred by his Communist neighbors in 1945. Blessed Rolando Rivi. It’s like the stuff that would have happened if Don Camillo and the mayor hadn’t been themselves.

    And Rivi, he’s that guy. You know him — the super-enthusiastic kid who always wore his Eagle Scout or sports uniform, the guy who had a thousand things going on. It’s a terrible story, but the grit is amazing. He doesn’t have a canonization miracle yet, so keep him in mind if you know somebody who needs prayers. His cause has a website in Italian.

    1. Wow. Actually, even though they put him up for beatification by reason of his martyrdom, they also did have a beatification miracle that they submitted — a kid from England, who was instantly cured of leukemia in 2001. Hokey smokes, that’s pretty good stuff! And I never heard of this guy before!

      Apparently there were four other seminarians who were martyred in the same region at the time, but their causes are still a bit more low key. There’s a lot of bad blood in those areas still, even though the perpetrators are mostly dead and gone, so I gather that researching the causes has been “interesting.”

    2. Here’s a longer version of his story. Apparently even the other Communist partisans were not happy about kidnapping and killing a kid, which is why so much was found out afterward.

      But check out the end of the story — at least 15,000 people were murdered by the Communists, just in that area, which is not something one hears about (except in Don Camillo stories, which are set up north, but had similar things going on).

  6. My bet is the robot catbox cleaner would gain a voice and a personality:

    “Oh, thank you! I’m so happy to be of service! Let me just clean that up! Have a Great Day!”

      1. There’s a be an annoyingly chirpy greeting as well as the thank you for fulfilling it’s purpose.

        Hopefully Douglas Adams is smirking down a bit at the pale imitation.

  7. Haven’t gone the auto cleaner, yet. But nice to know there is one good recommendation to keep in back pocket. We finally swapped out one big box and added multiple in three parts of the house. Had to keep the new puppy out of the one large one in the utility room. Went to the top load bin type in 3 locations in the house. That has been good for last few years. Then the new kittens (almost 1 year) decided that only a garage box will do. To the point that they figured out how to pry open the not-tight-sealed clean litter storage box lid and use the litter there, sigh. Of coarse with the pet supply shortages finding a top loader was a challenge. Finally got one. The good news is 3 cats, one dog, not one having accidents in the house.

    1. When Chinavirus hit along with Sara’s seizures, we went to one person doing the shopping and one taking care of the dogs. Now only one, Sara at Sweet 16 (and seizures that clobbered her walking motor control).

      But now, with my medical adventures, we’ve had to leave Sara home, alone. Set a baby gate at the kitchen hallway, close the other door, and if she has a mess, it’s easy to clean up. However, no messes so far.

      Today was dental and market day, with Sara alone for 4.5 hours. She’s not happy about it, but no messes. Goood girl! Tomorrow it’s the surgeon’s office to give 90 degree range of motion, and questions about brace/physical therapy/resuming driving. We’ll see how she does.

      1. Short of shutting doors, we can’t corral the cats much. But dog, if we’re gone for long, very far (close by for holiday family stuff, I come home and let her out), she vests up and comes with. That is her job. The other relative holidays are likely held at accepts her at the house … who knew the ADA does not apply to family homes? OTOH I think I’ve mentioned I need breaks from large gatherings of people, including family, as much as I adore them (other than being loud and overwhelming, gatherings are tame, no one obnoxious) … meet my build in excuse. That she can handle way longer than the 2 to 3 hours without going out … they don’t need to know that 🙂

        1. Oh, I’ve been known to use that as an excuse to bail from a meeting or a gathering that’s gone on too long.

          Sara is 16 years old, with serious mobility issues, so we try to let her go when she expresses a desire. When I had two fully functional knees (was that an Emperor Palpatine voice?) I’d get her outside when I got up. Now, either $SPOUSE gets the duty at 6:30AM, or if the footing is secure and light is sufficient, I’ll do it.

          She got “reverse crate trained” as a young one. When she was about 6 months old, I joined the rural fire department. We got a lot of calls on the radio, partly because the Fire/EMS dispatch system broadcast everything in the county. This made for sketchy sleep. When I got called out for our own calls, she’d get nervous and would piddle in her crate. I left the department after 2.5 years, but the pattern was set. Somebody wake up to go to the bathroom, and pee in the crate.

          More recently, we gave her full run of the house, with the crate door open, and she’s been an angel. When I was confined to The Comfy Chair at night for 6 weeks (arggh!), she’d keep me company. Sometimes, she’d retreat to her unlocked crate, but no messes. For market trips, we try to have somebody home with her, but the medical jaunts don’t allow this until I can drive again. We’ve confined her to the kitchen/laundry room with food and water, but so far, no messes, even when I had surgery. That was something like 6-7 hours. Good Girl!

    2. Litter Robot is kinda spendy, but I gotta say–worth it so far. It even connects to my phone and lets me know if the bag is full and/or if the cats are screwing around with the sensors again. I’ve had it going on 3 years now, and it’s probably saved me almost as much as it cost in cat litter (don’t have to buy it nearly so often) and aggravation alone 😀

      (Also, I finally went with the more expensive version because the most common thread I saw on the cheaper ones was that they broke regularly, on account of all the parts being plastic. And the only other one with comparable good reviews required hooking it up to your plumbing…and since it also “heated” the cleaned pellets to dry them, all I could think was “That is going to smell terrible in short order. Also, my bathroom isn’t that big.”)

  8. Call Litter Robot and let them know about the failed one. Chances are that they will sell you the parts needed to fix it at a reasonable price. They did with me. Their boxes are expensive but worth every penny. Oh also they are easy to disassemble and reassemble so you should have no problem installing them,

    1. It’s likely that with the need to finish the house and get it ready to sell, getting the litterbox smell under control has a higher priority than saving a broken piece of equipment…

      1. actually, no. It’s that my communications with them were weird, because the problem is intermittent.
        And yeah, I know it comes out of the box ready. BUT FIRST I had to clean the box room, and get all the litter that had got everywhere.
        Then I had to CLEAN the old box that we’re keeping.
        Anyway, with all this, the day got away from me.
        We’re moving before putting the house up. There’s no way we can put the house up with the purloined cat. She lived with someone who never cleaned the box in the past. When she’s stressed by, say, too many strangers in the house, she pees anywhere. This is not conducive to selling.
        But not having the smell is good for Sarahs too.

  9. I’m sorry, but what part of “Cats come first” was confusing you?

    There’s never a need for apologies over blog delays from tending to cats’ needs!

    Sigh – I been to the Red Cross to give them a pint of Rh- and they had trainee phlebotomists working my scrawny beat-up old veins; now I’m home with both elbows wrapped and in need of a nap.

    1. Ouch.
      I figure since my gallbladder is coming out next week I might as well not bother asking Lifehouse if they want a nice pint.

    2. Ouch. I make sure to tell them to use the “Butterfly”/Baby needles … Or … I’m bruised up and down both arms, almost every single time! I have had phlebotomists hit a vein with no problem, even ones who apologize for being new to the job. But the latter isn’t the way to bet.

      1. Heh – I’m there every nine weeks and ALWAYS warn them, but we all know some people won’t believe until they run into the wall. The lady who held the needle in the whole time, adjusting the angle it as necessary to stay in the vein and keep the blood flowing asked if I’d caught the name of the first shooter … and admitted she remembered the arm.

        And this was not the first time I’ve had a supervising phlebotomist say, “Oh, I remember this arm!”

        But being as I want to keep potential donors in my type available I am steadfast in my attendance and pretty cheerful in my attitude (hey I want the person drawing my blood to have friendly thoughts of me; professionalism goes only so far )

      2. For clarity – I rarely bruise from donating blood, but the veins through my elbows are scrawny, wiry, prone to rolling and, after over eight gallons donated, covered in scar tissue. If they can insert it well the blood flows bountifully but the veins are increasingly tough to get enter.

        Fortunately, I find the experience not so much painful as amusing.

  10. Trying to Notice What’s Missing: I’m ploughing through some open source project email threads and thinking:

    In 2010, people got together in Berlin for a Wikimedia developers’ meeting …. and then a bunch of them hung around a lot longer than they’d expected, because a volcano erupted and so their flights got cancelled. As I understand it, you can trace certain architectural decisions and improvements to the discussions and pair programming from that chunk of unexpected extra in-person time.

    It’s conference season, at least in the northern hemisphere, and we’re going into our second year of virtualized or missing technology conferences. The maintainers, users, and stakeholders of the open source software you depend on have gone more than a year without getting to quietly gossip with each other over a snack or while walking to a sponsored party. It’s been more than a year since one guy has been able to make that other guy laugh and remember “ah, he’s not so bad really”. It’s been more than a year since people could easily scribble boxes and arrows together on the back of a conference schedule or poke at the demo on someone’s laptop.

    We come together every once in a while to refill on trust and camaraderie and a shared understanding of what we’re trying to do and who we’re trying to do it for; I assume that, for some folks, those wells have now run dry.

    In a tree’s rings you can see the years of drought. Where, in our code and our conversations, will we see the record of this separation? Do you already see it?


  11. Seems to me that this was very much a typical Sarah post.

    Just talking about the excrement that comes out of a feline’s rear end rather than that which comes out of all too many human’s top ends.

    1. Around noon, I had litter places that weren’t meant to have litter — like my hair — and was cursing up a storm. I didn’t think of taking a picture.

    1. Then the cat is hogging the bathroom when you need to go.

      I’ve already got enough conflicts just keeping his bowls in the bathtub as is. (He has a game he liked to play called “spin the water bowl!” I decided it needed to be contained in a more waterproof location…)

      1. My cats do the same thing. They drag the water bowl around and spill it everywhere, so I keep it in the shower. They haven’t managed to drag it out of the shower. Yet.

        1. When the dogs were younger, the older one (Sara) taught the younger (Angie) to play in the water bowl. Got bowls with retaining edges, but Sara is a messy drinker. So, boot tray inder the water bowls (one kept in memory of Angie, who passed too soon).

    2. Years ago, my dad told me he knew a family that had a cat that used the toilet. I never believed it until I recently saw one using the toilet on an animal TV show. I don’t think it wiped or flushed.

        1. At one time we had quite a number of cats, and of course being cats they were found all over the house. Kind of Thurber-esque in a low key way. Anyhoo, I was heading up to the office when I heard this “tinkle tinkle tinkle” coming from the bathroom at the head of the stairs. I looked in and there was our crazy, half Siamese sitting on the toilet with her bum hanging over the bowl.

      1. I taught a cat to use the toilet, way back when. It was super convenient and not too hard to do. Unfortunately that was also the cat that went out one day and never came back. Maybe he was upset about having to use the toilet.

        We had two cats then, and they both learned pretty quickly but the older one did prefer the litterbox.

        And no, they didn’t flush, you had to do that part for them.

        1. The problem is that some cats, when taught to use the toilet, never get the hang of which way to face, so it’s a fifty-fifty chance that they’ll hang their butt outside, rather than inside the bowl.

          1. 🙂 I think they get the hang of it and just like dropping the bomb off the edge onto the floor.

  12. I’ve had many cats over the years and haven’t really had a litter box problem. For various reasons they’ve all been allowed to go out during the day and spend the night inside. Only one out of ten over the years met with an accident when she strayed too far. They all spent minimal time at the vet (except for one that swallowed a bunch of string) and lasted to ripe old ages up to 18 and 20 years. Wife was always taking cats in, but she passed a couple of years ago, so as soon as present feline fades away I think I’ll take a pet break. That is, if the cat doesn’t outlast me.

  13. School and job hunting and actually trying to deal with a plot knot that won’t go away means that I’m unable to post as much as I want to, either.

    And, I really need to, because I need to get my SEO scores up, so I can get people to buy more copies of my book, so I can actually afford to have Taco Bell more than once a month.

  14. I had many plans for today… before I realized that dreaded Mowing Season was hard upon me. The grass in the back yard went from dead to greenish to “Omigawd that’s so long!” during this week. Seems very early this year, kinda took me by surprise.

    Lucky for me I did all the mower maintenance in the fall, so I could mount it up to the tractor and VROOOOM around the house for hours. Looks like a hayfield now.

    Weirdly, I feel much better now. Like I did something constructive and needful, for a change.

    Guess tomorrow I’ll have to start taking the -big- mower apart and fix all the broken things. (It’s big, but old.) When you have a backup mower for when your main mower is having a bad hair day, you think that you have too much lawn. But when your maniacal poodle is tired after running only twice all the way around the back yard at full afterburner, you know that it is merely big enough.

      1. Weather reports indicate we might get a hard frost and snow tonight/tomorrow. Usually the second week of May is when I break out the mower, this is a month early.

        1. We’ve been clear, dry, and very, very, cold wind; not particularly hot, yet, but that is coming too. Wind has been east to west. Strong and cold enough that I’ve remarked that “dang we could be on the coast!” Oregon coast beaches are known for their cold strong wind. But despite being cold the wind, blowing west, has no moisture, and is pulling what moisture out, drying things. To the point that Wildland Fire Danger has been posted!!!! In April! This is not good for this summer. May the spring rains be late, and stay later.

  15. Wholly unrelated to the current topic but I’m disinclined to search for a more appropriate post, here’s a wonderfully concise summation of the nation’s current division:

    No, Dr. Fauci, We Are Not ‘Ruled by the Science
    By Charles C. W. Cooke
    Dr. Fauci says that the FDA’s decision to pause deployment of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is the right one because “we are ruled by the science and not any other consideration” …

    This is nonsense. Indeed, it’s almost self-parodic nonsense


    The mistake Fauci is making here is one that is endemic within American progressivism, whose most vehement adherents seem genuinely to believe that we are divided politically because we are looking at different facts rather than drawing different conclusions from those facts. This isn’t true — at least, it’s not the primary cause of our divisions. Those result from the differing moral judgments that free people naturally draw — and will continue to, however many times they are told in frustration that the answers are already known.

    In the past we’ve discussed the fact the Left’s leadership seems to be largely comprised of “A” students – the kids who always gave the expected answer, thinking it was the right answer.

    The “C” students often included the kids who saw seven different ways of answering teacher, all of them correct.

  16. Off-topic question, can we send in other people’s books for the Sunday promo if we think they would appeal to the audience here?

  17. I love my litter robot. Mom keeps saying she doesn’t want one when I can finally live in my house (have to gird the loins and fine the energy to do the repairs to make it livable, which is…hard to find just now…sigh), but I’m here going…”Really? You’re gonna go back to “the human has to scoop it” routine?” So I think I’ll still be buying a new one when I move and leaving my old one with them. I keep telling people it’s a big chunk of change up front, but dang if it hasn’t been worth every penny so far. And even my enormous cat loves it, though it’s a bit of a squeeze for him, heh.

  18. I use a paper-based litter (SoPhresh) that doesn’t work with robo-boxes. The robo-box also doesn’t fit into the designated litter-box nook in Athena’s (and my) bathroom. Sib has two robo-boxes and really likes them.

      1. Yesss. THere is going to be a designated spot in my house (either in the bathroom–if there’s room, I’m putting the washer and dryer in there) or in the part of the pantry not used for food storage) solely dedicated to the litter Bot.

        If I had one complaint about Litter Robot, it is that it is an unwieldy beast of a thing when it comes to finding a spot for it.

        1. Yeah. I’m thinking more — if we get our prequal before it sells — the house in which we’ll just finish the attic? There will be a small room for the boxes. Like, closet sized. I might put in a “blows air outwards” fan too.

          1. That’s a good idea. Though I haven’t got an attic, alas. (One story house, and I’m not sure there’s even access to the inside-roof area…)

  19. Sarah, congratulations! Well done.

    I’m having a trauma response today, so bawling and reading The Chronicles of Narnia might be all I’m good for today, anyhow.

    Plus, a lovely fellow who spoke no English but smiled a lot, he and I herded mama duck and about a dozen ducklings off Hwy 99 and into a parking lot this morning. To the cheers and thumbs ups from many a passer-by. That’s enough.

    When you do post, it’ll change my life for the better. I can wait.

      1. Thanks so very much. Really.
        This is the tail end of a process of revelation that began around mid-2013. My sister was my last hope, and she dashed that yesterday with some heavy truth. Thank goodness for truth.

  20. Sarah,

    I’ve been away from the blog for a bit but I did get your April 12th email. The one that said you finally got the email I sent you over two months prior.

    I think it’s safe to say that your email hates me and everything I stand for. I don’t mind chipping in with the occasional guest post, but you’re going to have to give me some other channel to send you stuff through. The good news is that I don’t seem to have any trouble receiving your emails, so if you do figure something out you can still send me the necessary link/password/whatever privately.

    1. Sarah’s email seems to hate everyone, even her, so….
      I don’t know if it’s the service itself or the reader, or if they are conspiring.

      1. I’m not saying I’m the only one who’s had any problems, but I haven’t heard of anyone else needing months just to get guest posts to her.

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